The fourth largest of the Finger Lakes, Canandaigua Lake is located 29 miles southeast of the city of Rochester. Called by the Indians, The Chosen Place, Canandaigua lies within Ontario and Yates counties. The lake is bordered on the north by the city of Canandaigua, and on the south by the settlement of Woodville.
Elevation: 688 feet
Area: 10,558 acres
Length: 15.5 miles
Maximum width: 1.5 miles
Maximum depth: 276 feet
Thermocline: about 35 feet
Canandaigua Lake serves as a public water supply for the communities of Canandaigua, Newark, Palmyra, Rushville and the township of Gorham. Its water is clear and well oxygenated at all depths enabling fish to occupy both shallow and deep water habitats.
Rooted aquatic vegetation is confined mainly to shallow north and south ends of the lake. In these areas Eurasian milfoil is the dominant species. Other species include: pondweeds, stoneworts and musk grass. Limited weedbeds are also found in covers and along some shorelines where the bottom slope is gradual.
Public Access Sites
Canandaigua Lake State Marine Park- Located off Route 5 and 20 in the city of Canandaigua. Hard surface ramps; parking for 110 cars and trailers; a launch fee is charged. Operated by the office and Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Woodville- Located on Route 21, 3 miles north of Naples at Woodville. Hard surface ramps; parking for 86 cars and trailers, no charge. Operated by the DEC. Maintained year round and provides parking for ice fishing when ice conditions allow.
Notice: Work continues on the Woodville Fishing Access Site (FAS) boat launch. The project is slated to be completed at the end of March with a tentative date to reopen on April 1, 2013. The site will remain open for ice fishing access. If you have questions regarding the boat launch please call 585-226-5343.
The boat launch at the Canandaigua Lake State Marine Park on the north end of the lake is currently open and will remain so until ice conditions do not allow boat launching or retrieval. If you have questions regarding this launch please call 315-789-2331.
The boat launch at Camp Onanda (approx 8 miles south of Canandaigua on the west shore) is also open. If you have questions regarding this launch please call 585-755-7213. Thank you.
West River- Located on West River, just off Route 245 on Sunnyside Road near trailer park. Hand launch only; parking for 5 cars. Operated by the DEC.
Onanda- Located on West Lake Road, 6.5 miles south of the city of Canandaigua. Hard surface ramp; parking for 25 cars and trailers. Restricted to winter launching, and then only when state park site at north end is useable. DEC site. Operated by the Town of Canandaigua. Maintained year round and provides parking for ice fishing when ice conditions allow.
Special fishing regulations apply.
For many years the lake trout was the only salmonid in Canandaigua Lake. During this time, the lake also supported fisheries for lake whitefish and burbot. Smelt, stocked as an additional food source, were planted by the Conservation Department(now DEC) in 1925, and rainbow trout were added in 1936. By 1953 alewives became established in the lake via unknown sources. The success of the introduced smelt and particularly, alewives, led to improved growth of adult lake and rainbow trout and set the stage for successful brown trout introduction (begun in the early 1970s).
Currently, Canandaigua Lake supports important fisheries for lake trout, brown trout and rainbow trout. "Lakers" and "brown" are maintained by annual stocking, but the rainbow trout fishery is sustained entirely by natural reproduction, mostly in Naples Creek and its tributaries.
In addition to its popular trout fisheries, Canandaigua produces some excellent angling for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel and panfish, including yellow perch, blue gills, pumpkinseed, rock bass, black crappie and bullheads.
An ongoing angler diary cooperator program for sportfish provides DEC fisheries staff with useful data on population trends. If you are interested in signing up as a co-operator, please contact the DEC Region 8 Office.